‘We simply have not kept in touch with poetry’ – Paul Muldoon
The Composite Review exists to identify the prevailing aesthetic in contemporary poetry. Drawing on examples from the vast corpus of post-medieval English literature, we are seeking to re-instate the question of beauty as a category of critical response to poetry, prose, and essays being produced in the present day. As a result of increasing suspicion surrounding the notion of a ‘canon’, as well as the fractured schools of thought that seek to grasp the immense web of conflicts that constitute contemporary approaches to literature, our collective appreciation of the aesthetic has become weakened by our inability to discuss it in objective terms. Beauty has inherited a complex tradition, and is often seen as indivisible from broader ideas, perceived as having allegiances to theocracy, and a dominant notion of moral purity. The post-war decline in faith is undoubtedly linked to the waning presence of beauty as a foremost concern in our literature – but a secular, fulfilling aesthetic is possible and, so we argue, necessary.
Copyright (C) The Composite Review 2017-18.